Ep 139. Owning Your Role as a CEO

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Do you ever struggle to consider yourself the CEO of your business? Does that word sound strange coming out of your mouth describing yourself? I know it can feel strange, but there are SO many benefits to truly and finally owning your role as the CEO of your business!

In this episode, you’ll hear a replay of my presentation from my very own Focused Mom Photographer Summit from April 17, 2023. I’ll share with you 3 keys to owning your role as the CEO, and help you unpack why it’s important to understand your status as the CEO in order to see movement in your business.

I want you to know that what I am sharing with you today took me a long time and some trial and error. So, I want to give you the fast track, but it’s not going to come with just an overnight sort of success. This is something that is going to take some time for you to really implement and get used to, so be really patient with yourself and give yourself an open mind as you work. 

Step 1: Understand Why Your CEO Status Matters

When I first learned this concept of being the CEO of my business, I honestly saw this vision of a really corporate stuffy CEO who didn’t really care about many other people, just the bottom line. 

That’s honestly what I thought about when I thought of a CEO. So that word kind of always rubbed me the wrong way. 

It wasn’t until someone explained it this way that I really understood what it meant:

Your business needs direction, and it needs a leader.

When I talk about really owning that role as CEO, it really just means the leader of your company. So a CEO is the leader of a company. However you choose to phrase it, I want you to own that role.

CEO Vs. Employee Mindset:

Employee mindset focuses on task completion as you focus on what’s happening in the present, waiting on someone to approve your tasks.

CEO mindset is future, big-picture thinking as you direct your own business. I want you to think of yourself in an airplane 30,000 feet in the air, and you’re looking down on your business, and you’re looking at where you want it to go. You’re looking at what the stepping stones are that you need to take in order to get you there.

That is what a CEO does. That is what a CEO is for. They’re leading the company, and you are the leader of your business.

Knowing why the CEO mindset is important leads us to step 2 of the process of owning your role as a CEO.

Step 2: Commit to Showing Up

Set aside time regularly for a CEO date. What this looks like is a time block in your schedule, that hopefully you can repeat week after week on the same day, or around the same time, so that you and your family get used to this idea of you working on your business doing CEO tasks.

What to do During Your CEO Date:

The first thing I want you to do is reflect. I think so often as business owners, we get stuck in just go-mode. We just are go, go, go, and we don’t take a minute to stop and reflect. 

So I want you to start with celebrating your wins for the past week. Instead of focusing on a to-do list, I want you to focus on a to-done list. These are the things that you actually got done, and the things that you are so excited that you did.

Next, I want you to evaluate what’s working in your business and what’s not. 

The next step in your CEO day is to do a capacity check. Ask yourself, how did I feel energetically last week? What do I want to maintain? Or change moving forward? And where do I need support? Don’t skip this step!

Next, during your CEO day, I want you to plan ahead. So you’re going to brain dump your to-do list. I have a strategy that I love to share all the time about having a master task list and a brain dump you can put on your master task list. This is somewhere digital that you can keep your task list that you can continue to add to it, and that you are prioritizing every time that you sit down to do this.

Next, I want you to decide what support you’ll need coming up. This could look like meal planning and delivery, or childcare. 

finally, you’re going to be revisiting your goals. So goal setting is huge when you are a photographer, and especially when you’re the CEO. I really want you to be thinking about is your business on track where you want it to be? And if not, how can you course correct before you go too far.

Track and Evaluate Your Growth

The number one thing that I recommend and would love for you to start doing if you’re not already is to start time tracking. I use a Chrome extension and a free program called Toggl. You can use Toggle to time your tasks, title them, and give them project names.

So at the end of the week, you can go back and review your time tracker, and you can see what you spent your time on. You can also really clearly see how many hours per week you are working.

Next, I want you to check your conversion rates. That’s the number of bookings divided by the number of inquiries. It’s really important to keep an eye on that metric, and make sure that you are improving your rate.

And finally, in this tracking and evaluating growth, I want you to be diligent about managing your income and expenses. I know this is a difficult thing for a lot of us right-brained creatives. We don’t really want to look at the numbers, and we don’t really want to know all the nitty gritty details about our finances, but as the CEO, it is absolutely crucial that you know your numbers.

Get Strategic:

This is the part where you really focus on streamlining your processes. Enhancing your client experience and maximizing your efficiency is absolutely key to making sure that you are not wasting time.

I know that you’re a busy mama and you have limited time just like I do. And it’s so important that the time that you are spending is focused, intentional and efficient.

Step 3: Surround Yourself With CEO-Minded People and Resources

I absolutely highly recommend finding business besties. It is so nice to have friends who get the struggle of being a mom and a business owner. 

That’s the heart behind The Purpose Gathering is making sure that you have those business besties. Join our FREE Facebook Group to connect with other mama business owners just like you. That’s a great place to plug into and connect with other photographers who can be those besties for you.

And finally, another way to surround yourself with CEO-minded resources is by consuming podcasts, books, and education that are leadership focused.

Here are a few SEO books and podcasts that I wanted to kind of refer you to:

  1. Atomic Habits by James Clear
  2. Start With Why by Simon Sinek
  3. Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
  4. The Purpose Gathering Podcast by Ashley Freehan (me!)
  5. Promote Yourself to CEO Podcast by Racheal Cook
  6. The Legal Paige Podcast by Paige Griffith

Next Steps:

How are you feeling? Take a deep breath. I know, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed. And I want you to know it’s okay. I remember that feeling too. It is so stressful sometimes to learn something new, and it’s just overwhelming. 

But I want you to first just make a commitment today that you are no longer going to be winging this business thing, and that you’re really going to own your role as the CEO.

I want you to write down 3 of your biggest takeaways and what your action steps need to be. I recommend starting with that weekly CEO date!

I am always here rooting for you! Take this information. Please do not sit on it. Please do not forget about it. Own your role as the CEO, and everything from this day forward is going to change.

Quotes to Note:

“I want you to commit to being the CEO of your business and showing up weekly.”

“Your business needs someone in charge, and whether you like it or not that someone is you.”

“Making sure that you are really maximizing your time and efficiency: That is what a CEO thinks about, not an employee because an employee is just checking in and checking out and getting paid. And that’s all they typically care about.”

“We repeat things that we celebrate, and so it’s important to take time to focus on those.”

“Evaluate regularly, asking yourself: am I spending my time on the right things?”

“I know that you’re a busy mama and you have limited time just like I do. And it’s so important that the time that you are spending is focused, intentional and efficient.”

Resources Mentioned:

If this podcast was helpful, consider leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts or your podcast app.

  1. Are you lonely as a mom photographer and lacking community? Join our Free Purpose Gathering Mamas Community
  2. Have a question for me? Or a specific struggle you’re dealing with? I’ll address your question on the podcast. Submit your ‘Ask Ashley’ question here
  3. Find me on Instagram: @thepurposegathering
  4. Efficient Mom Photographer Program

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My mission is to help fellow mom business owners experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for mompreneurs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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